2009 Chick Lit

Best Intentions – Emily Listfield

Best Intentions falls into the ‘chick lit’ category, but is the first book I have read which successfully manages to combine this with a convincing thriller.

The book begins with Lisa, a mother of two teenage girls, living a busy life in New York. Her happy world starts crumbling around her when she suspects her husband of having an affair. To make matters worse her job becomes under threat when the company she works for is taken over by new management.

One of the best things about the book was that I knew who was going to be murdered from the beginning. I think that the author intended this to be the case, as all her marketing makes it very obvious. The murder doesn’t occur until about 2/3 of the way through, so for the majority of the book I was searching for clues as to what would provoke violence. This is the only book I’ve read where the majority of the detective work is done before the actual crime is committed. I was unsure as to whether to name the murder victim here, so I’ll leave you to make up your own mind. If you’d like to know who is killed then the book’s website lets you know.

The writing is not  fluffy, like many books in this genre, but is intelligent and thought provoking. In many ways it reminded me of Lionel Shriver’s writing style. The main themes are relationships, trust and parenting. There were a lot of sections where I found myself remembering almost identical experiences:

I turn partially around. “Have a yogurt.”
I’ve already had a yogurt.”
I take a deep breath. “All right, One Cookie. Just One.” I distrust any mother who says she never bribes her children.

The characters are all well-drawn, and behave realistically, the slight annoyance being that it is all written in the first person (although I have to admit that I got used to this after a few chapters).

The ending is satisfyingly realistic, but unfortunately I don’t think it could have been predicted using anything other than pot luck, as all the suspects had equally good motives, and as far as I could tell there were no clues hidden earlier in the text.



This is Emily Listfield’s seventh book. I haven’t read any of her others, but am particularly interested in her last book Waiting to Surface.

Have you read any of her other books?

Are you a fan of ‘chick lit’?